Review: Tecno Phantom 6

You might not heard of Tecno, but it's put out an entry level smartphone with a working iris scanner, USB-C fast charging and more than anyone should reasonably expect for Dh899

Tecno has had its fair share of influence in the African market. With its recent introduction of the Phantom 6 and 6+, the Chinese company aims to expand its reach in the Middle East region.

Specifications

  • 5.5-inch Full HD display (401ppi)
  • MediaTek MT6755 processor at 1.95GHz
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 2,700mAh battery
  • Dual 13+5MP primary camera and 8MP secondary camera
  • Android 6.0 with HiOS
  • USB-C port with fast charging support (0-50% in 54 minutes)

Design and build

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For a lower-mid range smartphone, the Phantom 6 looks impeccable. The brushed aluminium finish adds a nice touch of premium to the device while the hardware buttons are robust and do not show any sign of creaking. The overall footprint remains manageable and the slender look might make it prone to the occasional slip. However, with a flip case provided by the company, those concerned can rest easy.

Multimedia consumption

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Featuring a 5.5-inch Full HD AMOLED display with a pixel density of 401, the phone produces some very nice images. There is enough contrast for videos to seem appealing and the deep blacks add to the richness in colour. On the software side of things, Tecno allows users to adjust how the display looks in accordance to their needs, which adds to the available customisation options. No multimedia experience is complete without audio, and the Phantom 6 impresses here as well. Featuring a single bottom-mounted speaker, it is less likely to be covered when watching content or playing games and the sound produced is very good. Once again, the audio presets that the company provides to adjust audio offer a wide variety and work extremely well when paired with the in-ear headphones out of the box.

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Performance and user experience

Under the hood is a MediaTek 6755 chipset clocked at 1.95GHz along with 3GB of RAM. Daily tasks are no problem at all and RAM management between heavier applications is also good. There is a slight stutter here and there but it is nothing to take away from experience. Following CPU performance, the GPU on the device is also very good at handling both 2D and 3D games with no problem. However the phone does start to show cracks when software user interface is considered. Despite running Android 6.0, HiOS’ heavy skin and bloated user interface certainly takes away from the experience. While installing various themes from Tecno’s proprietary store could be an alternative, its limited selection will not get the user far.

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Tecno hasn’t included a fingerprint sensor on the Phantom 6 but the surprise package was the presence of an iris scanner. To see this present in an entry-level smartphone is very odd, but it functions as it should. That said, the registration process is tedious and unlocking the smartphone can be unreliable and slow, but the feature is present and that’s what matters.

Camera

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Following on the unique trend, the smartphone continues to impress with a dual-camera set-up. The primary sensor captures 13MP images and the secondary, 5MP. The layout not only allows for good pictures in well-lit conditions but also in darker scenarios, barring the slight overexposure of light and noise. Macro shot focus can also be adjusted once a picture is taken and the experience is sublime. Taking video at Full HD resolution is also possible but the lack of optical image stabilization doesn’t allow for stable footage. The front-facing 8MP selfie snapper is not as impressive as the primary one, featuring a narrow-angle lens and lacking detail in pictures. The in-built flash works, but results in a loss of the majority of the background at night. Click here for samples.

Battery Life and conclusion

The 2,700mAh battery may seem small in capacity for a large device but it wasn’t bad at all. Delivering close to five hours of screen-on time almost consistently with a strong standby time is what one should expect. For instances when the battery runs out, the USB-C port can charge is up quickly via fast charging technology.

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A smartphone of this calibre should never go unnoticed. Tecno may need to re-think the unboxing experience next time, primarily working on smaller packaging. It also needs to learn not to omit essentials of this day and age, such as a fingerprint scanner. However, at a price point of Dh899, the smartphone not only delivers good performance but also appeals to those seeking additional storage via microSD. The Phantom 6 is also dual sim. Availability at present seems to be via Tecno’s proprietary website with a chance of expansion to local vendors however there is no confirmation regarding this via Tecno. Nonetheless, the Tecno Phantom 6 seems to be the ideal choice for anyone looking for an all-rounded device.